The NFC East is the most competitive division in football. Whether it is the best is debatable. But who are its best players at each position? That's why I am here today. Unless you are a fan of the Panthers or the Broncos, we are still in the preseason, officially. So here is my preseason 2016 All-NFC East team, beginning with the offense.
Quarterback: Eli Manning, New York Giants
E-Man has two Super Bowl titles of his own, but he also set career-highs in completions, touchdowns and quarterback rating last season. He's playing some of his best football in his mid-30s, and a few more quality seasons are likely as long as he's assisted by a certain wide receiver who will also find himself on this team.
Running Back: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
You may not think Elliott deserves to be here given he hasn't yet played an NFL down that truly matters. However, for the same reason why true freshmen litter preseason all-conference squads at the collegiate level, Elliott's pure talent warrants his inclusion. He should have a remarkable rookie season and outproduce his divisional contemporaries -- Matt Jones, Rashad Jennings and Ryan Mathews -- with room to spare.
Wide Receivers: Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants; Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
Beckham is so much more than a player who makes the one-handed catch look routine. He is incredibly fast, has outstanding body control and will fight for every ball. He will fight his opponent sometimes, too. Beckham also has two 1,300-yard seasons to his credit and is just 23 years old.
Bryant struggled with injuries of his own and those that afflicted his quarterback last season. But he posted a three-year average of 91 receptions, 1,311.7 yards and 13.7 touchdown from 2012-14. Plus, at 27, he is smack dab in the middle of his prime. A healthy DeSean Jackson receives an honorable mention.
Tight end: Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
Jason Witten has been doing it well for a long time, but for 2016, this spot belongs to the player who is now the Redskins' franchise leader in just about every single-season category for a tight end. Last year, Reed also became the first Redskins player since 1991 to notch double-digit receiving touchdowns. He will continue to be a matchup nightmare as long as he remains on the field.
Center: Travis Frederick, Dallas Cowboys
This line will have defenses seeing stars because their are Cowboys all over it. And it's anchored by Frederick. Once thought of as a first-round reach. he has been a top-two center in each of the past two seasons, according to Pro Football Focus. He signed a contract last month that made him the league's highest-paid center.
Guards: Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys; Brandon Brooks, Philadelphia Eagles
Martin, PFF's top-ranked guard in pass blocking last season, is so athletic, he really could play anywhere along the line.
Brooks signed a five-year $40 million contract during the offseason as a free agent. A mountain of a man at 6-foot-5 and 335 pounds, he is solid in both the run and the pass game. The common thread for both of these players: There will be a little more pressure on them to do their jobs well as they each open the season guarding a rookie quarterback.
Tackles: Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys; Trent Williams, Washington Redskins
Let's not nitpick between right tackle and left tackle. PFF slotted Smith as the 13th-best player in the entire NFL in 2015. He is good at stopping a pass rush, but he has no equal when it comes to the ground game. He posted an incredible run-blocking grade of 96.8 last season. Smith has made it to three Pro Bowls before his 26th birthday.
Williams finally garnered All-Pro recognition last year. The seven-year vet has attended four consecutive Pro Bowls and was especially fantastic most recently at giving Kirk Cousins a clean pocket from which to throw.
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